What can I say but sometimes don't you just get cravings? And I have to say it's been a long time since I had Korean food so I was glad to hear about Maru off of Tryon Road. Located in the space that used to be Dalat in Cary, the place looks a bit drab on the outside but they've done a nice job inside. Dark woods with Asian accents, I'm pretty sure Maru is more Korean than Japanese but the menu is split down the middle for both. Maru is going for more upscale Asian and I'd say the prices reflect that expectation. For lunch I went with a Korean galbi bento box. Which you sorta have to scratch your head on because bento boxes are typically Japanese but like I said, I had a craving! Miso soup or salad for a starter, I go for the soup. Ten minutes later I get a tray with three large pieces of tempura, four pieces of california roll and a scoop of rice. The tempura is nice but not quite crispy. Shrimp, sweet potato and I think yam. The california roll is decent but rolled a bit loose, fine for an appetizer.
But what REALLY made the meal was the galbi. If you've never had it, galbi is short rib cut across the bone, marinated in a sweetish Korean sesame sauce and grilled. This version was excellent: sinewy, fatty but tender short rib meat well-caramelized. A bit chewy, rich with tons of flavor, loved Maru's version of a Korean favorite. And while the meal wasn't cheap ($12) it was a good amount of high-quality food. And the service was spot-on and attentive, I found out that the owner has been doing catering for the universities and SAS, Maru is his first foray into a restaurant. Maru has been only open 3 or 4 months so I don't think it's been widely discovered yet. Even though it sits facing Tryon Avenue, it's actually easy to miss but you would be remiss if you like Asian food and you don't check this place out. I was also told they do Asian tapas for dinner time so I'll have to come back and try them out too! That is if I can tear myself away from Maru's delicious galbi, is was THAT good...
6404 Tryon Road
Cary, NC 27518
4 stars out of 5